Nerfs for multiple classes announced in Hearthstone
Druid, Warrior, Shaman and Paladin are the classes targeted.
Since the launch of Knights of the Frozen Throne, the Hearthstone meta on the ladder has been completely dominated by Druid, with the Jade, Token, Taunt and Ramp archetypes all being viable due to the cards released for the class. Players have been calling for nerfs to the class for almost a month, and Blizzard have finally announced the changes they're going to be making in a blog post.
Innervate is now a pseudo Counterfeit Coin, granting players one extra mana crystal the turn it's played instead of two. Spreading Plague has been increased to six mana from five, which is somewhat of an underwhelming change to what people were expecting given that it's such a powerful anti-aggro tool. Players were expecting a nerf to Ultimate Infestation or Jade Idol, but it'll be interesting to see how these changes to undoubtedly the most powerful class currently play out.
Blizzard also mentioned that they thought about increasing the cost of Spreading Plague to seven mana, but because they're also changing Innervate, they decided on just upping the cost by one.
Warrior has always been known as the class with the best weapons such as Death's Bite, Arcanite Reaper, and Gorehowl. Arguably their best weapon, Fiery War Axe, has now been nerfed from two to three mana, making it a vanilla three mana 3/2. This instantly makes it worse than nearly all other three mana weapons, and Blizzard's reasoning for the change is questionable:
"Generally, changing the mana cost of a card is less disruptive, because you can always see the mana cost of cards in your hand." Many players, especially on Reddit, are outraged at the decision.
Hex is a staple in many Shaman lists, and despite Evolve Shaman being one of the only archetypes viable right now for the class, Blizzard have come down hard by increasing Hex's mana cost from three to four. But they've said it's not due to a power level problem, but because Shaman is a class that is lacking in identifiable weaknesses. Many players would argue that's the case for Druid more than any other, as removing Shaman's only hard removal card seems a little overkill.
The final card change is a nerf to Murloc Paladin, but only because Paladin is the class that utilises murlocs the most. Murloc Warleader, the three mana 3/3 that gives your other murlocs +2/+1, has been nerfed to only give other murlocs +2 attack. It's not as severe a change as the others with this patch and will no doubt still see play, but Blizzard said they made the change so opposing players can clear a board full of murlocs slightly easier. In its current state, Wild Pyromancer + Equality doesn't clear a board full of murlocs due to the +1 health benefit, but it will when this goes live. They added on that they considered changing Rockpool Hunter too, but because Warleader will be around for longer, they decided this change was better.
At the end of the blog post, it goes on to explain that they didn't nerf Ultimate Infestation because their data showed that Spreading Plague and Innervate were both in the top three Druid cards, whereas Ultimate Infestation was around the middle. They also said that they will only move cards to the Hall of Fame at the start of each Hearthstone Year, and confirmed that Ice Block is one of the cards in consideration.
It goes without saying that changes were needed because the current meta is a state for anyone not playing a top tier deck, but are these nerfs enough? Only time will tell. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and check out our interview with two of the Hearthstone Blizzard guys at Gamescom below.